Blue Earth, Minnesota
Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I think we managed to sleep solidly for about three hours before the freight train rolled into town sounding its horns across the many crossings through town. We had coffee and cereal for breakfast and walked around to the tool shop and asked one of the assistants to ring Bill to come collect us. As we waited I noticed a rack of fan belts and amongst them was a very large deer head trophy- not what you would expect to see in a tool shop!

Both Jason and Bill turned up at the shop in separate vehicles. Jason drives a huge 4x4 truck but being six foot something, I suppose he needs a big vehicle. Bill gave us a tour of the town but we couldn't really take it all in as we still had jet lag.

The houses in Blue Earth are spaced out on their own sizable plots of land with the majority of them  made from wooden slats- a very common building material here. We called in at the local food store (Juba) to pick up supplies for back at the house. Bill explained some of the types of food that we weren't able to get in the UK, making it difficult to look for the essentials we needed. He was very patient with our half dazed wander round the shop and paid our shopping bill at the till. After loading the bags into the boot of the car we crossed over the store car park to an outdoor grill that sold Pork chop sandwiches and a can of pop for $2.75! The meat was fresh and very tasty- I wish we had fast food stalls like this in the UK! As we sat eating our tasty lunch, Bill commented on how Minnesota is a 'flyover' state as very few Americans visit the mid west and only travel to and from the East and West coasts. This town would be worth the stopover just for the pork sandwiches- nevermind, morepork sandwiches for me!

After lunch we had a quick tour around the endless fields of corn and soya beans that were broken up with small pockets of fields covered with wildflowers and natural plants. The flowered fields are owned or rented by Feder Prairie Seed. As we travelled Bill explained the various varieties of flowers, grasses and the use of their seed.
We saw many colourful fields between the immense endless miles of green all surrounded by very long straight stretches of dirt road.

When we returned to the office, Diane was given the job of podding seeds from some plants that grew on a 100 metre plot in the garden. She was working with a Vietnamese man, Andy who was 77 years old! There were two other people working on the garden but we weren’t introduced to them, yet.

Diane told me later that Andy had told her "Don't go in the fields....use the restroom" (?????????) At the time we weren't sure what this meant but we were to find out the following week!

My job was lifting sacks of seed from the back of a pickup and loading it onto a forklift, then into the stores. As we both worked on our tasks the sky on the horizon slowly turned from blue to black. The humidity got worse although I didn’t believe it was possible.

I commented to Jason about seeing tornadoes on youtube around Blue Earth.He smiled as he told me '… if the sky turns green…RUN FOR COVER!’ Thanks for putting my mind at ease there, Jason…ha ha ha..
 

A few seconds passed by and we both felt the change in air temperature, we looked at each other and at the same time said ‘the rains coming!’

Keeping an eye on the sky I got the chance to ride on the lawn mower to cut the grass around the office. Then it came. The most torrential down pour I have ever experienced. I was determined to finish of the lawn before running for cover- everyone else had already escaped. Pulling the lawn mower up to the shed door, Andy shouted for me to get in out of the rain- it was deafening as it hit the roof of the building and the road outside, I felt like I had just got out of the shower with my clothes on.

Everyone agreed to call it a day due to the bad weather, so Jason took us back to the house. The roads had turned into rivers! In Minnesota, it floods. It floods like a biblical down pour then 10 minutes after, it stops as if it never rained.

Jason dropped us off and returned 10 minutes later with 2 mountain bikes. I helped him take them out of the truck and we put them in the garage (next to the snow mobile??????).
 
"Watch out for this purple one" he warned, pointing at one of the bikes." Robyn had a very nasty accident involving a truck and I think its jinxed" he said sternly.

Today, we didn't go to bed until 12.30 am!

    

Our dining area for the duration of our stay 

 DSCF1579.jpg picture by Bibblerspics

    

DSCF1580.jpg picture by Bibblerspics

   

 Diane sat picking seeds from pods

DSCF1581.jpg picture by Bibblerspics